What help will my child get if they have dyslexia?
Adjustments and adaptations can be made in school to help children with dyslexia to learn to read and write and to enjoy and make progress in other subjects. These adaptations include:
- Multi-sensory teaching: using seeing, hearing and doing to help children learn. For example, children may learn to read and spell better if they have access to magnetic letters to actually make words with, rather than just seeing them written down.
- Providing visual aids such as words mats, visual task lists or word webs (see the 'What helps?' section in the ‘Learning Difficulties’ page for more details).
- Alternative methods of recording: dyslexic children often have a good understanding of what they learn, but struggle to express it in writing. Finding alternative ways, such as mind maps or pictures, for them to record what they know and think can help them to feel less frustrated and help teachers to assess their progress.
- Avoiding copying from the board: dyslexic children’s difficulties make copying from the board extremely difficult, time consuming and inaccurate, so teachers will find other ways for them to access or record information.
- Providing support materials for spelling and vocabulary, such as word banks, dictionaries, word webs and spelling strategies that involve multi-sensory learning and strategies such as the Look –Say-Cover-Write method.
- Providing practical resources, such as Numicon in maths or magnetic letters in English can help dyslexic children to learn more effectively.
- Maintaining self-esteem by celebrating the child’s strengths and successes, giving them special responsibilities and recognising the effort they put into work.
- Minimising reliance on memory by breaking instructions into smaller chunks and providing visual reminders for what the child needs to do so that they don’t have to remember instructions in detail.
- Giving the bigger picture: dyslexic children are often good at understanding the whole picture and this helps them to see how the smaller parts fit together, so providing them with an overview of a topic at the beginning can help them to stay interested and involved.
- Minimising visual stress by having non-white backgrounds on the interactive whiteboard, photocopying worksheets on to coloured paper and using coloured overlays for reading and coloured exercise books if this has been shown to benefit the child.
- Overlearning: providing opportunities for children to rehearse new skills repeatedly, not expecting them to learn something after one lesson.
- Positioning in class: ensure that dyslexic children are away from distractions and where they can see the teacher and board easily without straining.
Children with learning difficulties will often have interventions (specialised programmes of learning) to help them to develop particular skills, particularly reading and spelling. These interventions are usually run by trained teaching assistants, for small groups of children.
Interventions that often help dyslexic children might be:
- BRWP (Better Reading and Writing Partnership) – daily 1:1 reading intervention
- Toe By Toe – daily 1:1 phonic reading programme.
- Acceleread / Accelerwrite – computer-based reading and spelling programme.
- Precision Teaching – 1:1 reading or spelling practice.
- Monster Phonics – a colour-coded phonic programme designed for dyslexics.
Every dyslexic child is different and different approaches need to be tried in order to find the best way to help them to learn and progress.
In Year 6 children take SATs tests. The school may be able to apply for your child to have additional time for these tests if they meet certain criteria. They should also be able to have reading support for the maths and grammar tests, so that the questions in these tests can be read to them.